The design, implementation, and performance evaluation of a message passing facility (MPF) for shared memory multiprocessors are presented. The MPF is based on a message passing model conceptually similar to conversations. Participants (parallel processors) can enter or leave a conversation at any time. The message passing primitives for this model are implemented as a portable library of C function calls. The MPF is currently operational on a Sequent Balance 21000, and several parallel applications were developed and tested. Several simple benchmark programs are presented to establish interprocess communication performance for common patterns of interprocess communication. Finally, performance figures are presented for two parallel applications, linear systems solution, and iterative solution of partial differential equations.